Mark Twain National Forest employees will be conducting spring prescribed burning as weather allows, at locations across the forest in the coming weeks. Despite recent snow, grasses and brush across are getting dried out by the sunny skies, low moisture levels and winds. The forest is also in its spring fire season, and fire crews already have responded to several wildfires this calendar year.
A prescribed fire is a fire ignited by highly trained wildland firefighting personnel under very specific fuel and weather conditions. Each prescribed burn will be conducted to minimize smoke impacts to local communities when favorable atmospheric conditions disperse smoke quickly.
Prescribed fires are used to reduce the threat of severe wildfire and to improve the health of native plants and wildlife habitat. Deer, turkey, quail, and other species benefit when plants they depend on for food and cover are rejuvenated using prescribed fire. For the most up-to-date information, follow the Forest on social media at www.facebook.com/marktwainnationalforest.
Agencies work closely with the National Weather Service and utilize smoke monitoring stations to predict potential smoke impacts. Although some smoke may be visible in the air, monitoring and coordination enable prescribed burn planners to keep the smoke generated by the fire within federal and state air quality standards.
Neighboring landowners will be contacted before ignitions. Signs will be posted on roads and trails near prescribed fire operations on the day of the burn. If you encounter smoke on the highway, please: slow down; turn on your vehicle’s lights; and drive cautiously, watching out firefighting equipment and other vehicles that may be stopped along the road.
The forest coordinates with other federal and state land managers and some non-profit and private landowners as partners in the spring prescribed burn efforts. The burns can be conducted using helicopters or by crews with drip-torches. The desired effects are reducing the fuel-loading in the hardwood ecosystems, stimulating the grass/forbs plant community, and maintaining open areas in glade and prairie ecosystems. The planned burns mimic the historic fire occurrence for the areas in which they are planned.
If you have questions about prescribed fire being conducted by Mark Twain National Forest, contact a Forest Service office Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at these numbers:
•Forest Supervisor’s Office, 573-364-4621.
•Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District, 417-683-4428.
•Eleven Point Ranger District, 573-996-2153.
•Houston/Rolla/Cedar Creek Ranger District, 417-967-4194.
•Poplar Bluff Ranger District, 573-785-1475.
•Potosi/Fredericktown Ranger District, 573-438-5427.
•Salem Ranger District, 573-729-6656.
You can also email questions to Public Affairs Specialist Cody Norris at firstname.lastname@example.org.